So Mumbai got flooded again. I must have been a fool to think that the last 40 years could be undone in two. The BMC assured the people that 2006 would be different from the deluge of 2005 and perhaps it was a little different- last year everyone I spoke to while it rained in Mumbai told me that it wasn't like 2005.
This year was again different from 2006. It did flood this year and for almost 36 hours life came to a standstill. it was business as usual for everyone- passengers at the airport made new Sudoku records, the school children enjoyed a day off, the BMC officials decided to go fishing, the news channels had a field day asking the same darn questions and offering the same darn solutions- all within the programs air time.
Every time it rains in Mumbai people start imagining the worst. I'm sure that most of the people who experienced that cloudburst of 2005 can never get over the fact that such a thing could actually happen. the fact that Mumbai somehow manages to survive the worst has got nothing to do with the fabled spirit (it does exist, trust me and I love it) but the fact but the fact that no one has the time or the energy to fight it. And oh yeah there's no alternative! The crazy thing about experience is that till it cross the previous high point, it won't bother that much. Unless there is 2005 redux everyone will say it's not as bad. My friend in Mumbai actually told me that at least this time around the water didn't stay for long. I don't know what's worse- the bloody commercial capital of the country drowning every year or people gearing up for the same thing every year?
While we are poised to become a super power and have already started to take small steps that will transform into giant leaps as we go along, the Governor of Maharashtra, HE S.M. Krishna, requested Mumbaikars to evoke the spirit in the moment of crisis. This man is a picture of cool for now he just has to deal with 36 hours of chaos as opposed to the never ending Tamil Nadu-Karnataka Cauvery mess. The CM was on a foreign tour to attract investment and hasn't bothered to comment. His reaction- make mental note to fire PA for not releasing last years left over statements for rains. The Shiv Sena thanked it's stars that it was not in power. They decided to worry about 'a' Marathi Manoos (President Designate Ms. Patil) over the entire Maharashtra. The people, of course were a Darwinian dream come true- decided to be fit by surviving. This time around they were prepared and had inflatable boats ready.
Perhaps the difference this time is that Maximum City had company from the City of Joy. Kolkata is underwater as well. Chennai, of course, doesn't have water while the City of Djinns has no electricity. The Garden City of Bangalore continues to live to die another day. The Twin Cities- Hyderabad and Secundarabad has people falling into open drains during rains and ending up as dead bodies in Hussain Sagar lake. Even if forget the others it's a tough choice- I could be in Mumbai, enjoy the bijli and too much paani or I could be in Delhi and enjoy a passing cloud's misbehavior once a while and pray for bijli.
The more things change, the more they remain the same- the news channels were also fed up with the usual reactions so they decided to show a music video sort of thing with out takes and NG shots of people singing in the rain! Perhaps the Tourism Ministry should decide to make Mumbai the Venice of East now that Taj has been ensured a place in the new seven wonders of the world. This yearly routine of evoking spirits and fighting the 'odds' should be declared a holiday, at least people won't have to wade through chest deep water!
Image Courtesy: Asia Finance Blog